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30 Dec, 2008 12:24

Dispute over legality of Saddam execution continues two years on

It has been two years since former dictator Saddam Hussein was executed.

In 2006 he was found guilty of crimes committed against residents of the Iraqi town of Dujail in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him.

Hussein’s trial and execution provoked a mixed reaction worldwide, winning the approval of some countries in the west, but many in the Muslim world were appalled by Saddam’s treatment.

Hussein was captured by U.S. troops on December 13, 2003, after more than six months on the run. Initially there were many random sightings of Saddam, but none could be authenticated and Saddam would sometimes release recordings of his protest against the invasion.

After a trial lasting in Iraq for three years, Hussein was sentenced to death and executed on December 30, 2006. From his first court appearance, Saddam Hussein questioned its legitimacy, calling George W. Bush the real criminal. Saddam and his lawyers contested the court's authority as, they insisted, he was yet the President of Iraq.

The trial was also known for the assassinations and attempts on the lives of several of Saddam's lawyers, as well as the replacement of the chief presiding judge just midway through.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International dubbed it a show trial and said it was a significant step away from Iraq's rule of law.

Meanwhile, William Ramsey Clark, the U.S. former Attorney-General and winner of the Gandhi Peace Award, claims Saddam Hussein was tried fairly though, he says, it was tough work to ensure that.